Littlewoods owner Shop Direct says plans for a 27-storey tower in Liverpool city centre should be thrown out to protect thousands of jobs.
Business partners Martin Wilcocks and Craig Blackwell want to build two towers, Ovatus 1 and Ovatus 2, on the corner of Leeds Street and Old Hall Street.
Part of the site is currently occupied by a landmark mirrored glass building that houses Shop Direct鈥檚 data centre.
The developers have applied for planning permission for the first tower, the 27-storey Ovatus 1, and council officials have recommended councillors give the scheme the green light at next week鈥檚 planning committee meeting.
But Shop Direct is worried dust and vibrations from building work could affect its data centre, which powers its massive online stores including Littlewoods and Very.co.uk.
And, according to a report from planning officials ahead of Tuesday鈥檚 meeting, the Speke-based company asked that planning permission for Ovatus 1 be refused.
The report quotes Shop Direct as saying: 鈥淭he Data Centre... is vital to the online operational activities of the Shop Direct Group. Any disruption to the power and data lines beneath Back Leeds Street which serve it would be disastrous to its business.
鈥淣o explanation has been provided as to how these would be protected during the construction phase.
鈥淭he operation of equipment within the Shop Direct Group鈥檚 Data Centre would be put at risk from vibration and potentially dust, generated from the construction activity of the proposal.
鈥淭he successful operation of the Data Centre depends upon 24 hour, seven days a week vehicular and pedestrian access along Back Leeds Street and no explanation has been offered as to how this will be protected and maintained during the construction phase.
鈥淕iven the absence of any solution to these impacts the Shop Direct Group requests that the Council refuse this application in order to protect the jobs (over 5,600 employees of which 2,257 are based in Merseyside) and economic activity which relies upon the continued and uninterrupted operation of the Data Centre.?/p>
Officials say the applicant ?122 Old Hall Street Ltd, on behalf of the site鈥檚 owners ?have replied to Shop Direct Group explaining what measures could be taken to minimise the impact of dust and vibration on the data centre.
They say the council will ensure 鈥渞easonable steps鈥?are taken to address the impact of building work.
But the council鈥檚 Environmental Health Manager and Interim Head of Planning agreed that 鈥渟pecific construction impacts which could affect the functioning of the Shop Direct Group鈥檚 Data Centre and in turn the continued operation of their business are considered to be matters that are best discussed between the developer and the Shop Direct Group.?/p>
Mr Wilcocks and Mr Blackwell bought the 122 Old Hall Street site, including the data centre, for £3.25m last year.
Announcing Ovatus 1 in December, Mr Wilcocks said: 鈥淭he project is currently fully funded and financed to ensure the scheme鈥檚 deliverability, with enough presales secured to ensure the tower is fully occupied on completion.?/p>
Overall, officials have recommended Ovatus 1 be approved as its 168 apartments 鈥渨ill add to the diversity of accommodation offer within the city鈥?
They say the tower will not affect Liverpool鈥檚 World Heritage status and add: 鈥淭he height, scale and design of the building will relate well to the surrounding environment and will be of sufficiently high quality to ensure it contributes positively to the area without any undue impact on existing heritage assets or local environment.?/p>
In February, Mr Wilcocks and Mr Blackwell revealed that Ovatus 2 would be 48 storeys and 146.6m tall ?higher than the West Tower, currently Liverpool鈥檚 tallest building.
That building would be on the site of the data centre, so work cannot start until Shop Direct has moved.